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Poster: Scribble Date: Sep 8, 2008 10:12pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Will MPEG2s still be available

Hi Rick n' Skip,

I downloaded Danger Women at Work to see how good the MPEG4 file looks, the full 640x480 frame is great, but there seems to be a lot more compression artifacts than I'm used to seeing with the MPEG2 version of films like the Middletons which is of exceptional quality.

Will you be making MPEG2 versions of the new batch of films available? Or will we be stuck with the MPEG4s?

Thanks and kindest regards...

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Poster: archivefan Date: Sep 10, 2008 3:34pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available


As MPEG4 format is not compatible with most standalone DVD players, will you be making the MPEG2 versions available as DVDs to purchase? I know I'd buy them!

Also, the MPEG4s are 640x480 which is square pixel format. Are you assuming we will be watching these new films on computer monitors only?

It seems MPEG4-only is a mixed blessing because bitrate can be lowered, but legacy compatibility is greatly compromised!

This post was modified by archivefan on 2008-09-10 22:34:16

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Poster: Steve Nordby Date: Sep 10, 2008 8:42pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

I've recommended it before and I'll do it again: get ffmpeg and learn how to use it. It's freeware, but it is command line only which scares people. Don't be scared! The time you spend learning it will be greatly rewarded! You' will be able to transcode the Archive's mpeg4 files to DVD suitable mpeg2's that look 99% as good as the original.

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Poster: GersonK Date: Sep 12, 2008 5:48pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Thanks Steve! I can finally use the mp4's here. Cranking the bitrate on ffmpeg seems to get me the results I need, but then I'm just trying to gethand picked 200x150 screengrabs, so mileag emay vary for others.

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Poster: FP Date: Sep 13, 2008 9:32am
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Too bad about these new MP4s. They slow down my NLE interactivity, and play poorly over a network using Media Player, Media Player Classic, MPU, GOMPLAYER, and VLC. The old MPEG2 files work smoothly under the same conditions.

It's possible to use these, but it's unfortunate that a step backward was taken in terms of ease of use. If I transcode these to MPEG2, they work much better, but the transcoded files show cascading compression artifacts.

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Poster: DvMan Date: Jan 7, 2009 8:55am
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

I will always prefer mpeg2's to be able to burn to dvd. Why can we not archive in full NTSC resolution? 720x480. Pleeeeese!

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Poster: A/V Geeks Date: Sep 10, 2008 9:12pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Also, there are more affordable (free) tools for Windows and Mac users to view and make DVDs from these MPEG-4s.

Many of them use ffmpeg to do their magic.

On Windows, there's DVD Flick which will convert these files to DVD.

On the Mac, there's ffmpegx which purports to make DVDs from MPEG-4, but most Mac user have iDVD which will handle the files just fine.

Also you can play the MPEG-4 files in Quicktime without having to purchase the MPEG-2 component.

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Poster: MrMovie Date: Sep 21, 2008 12:37pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Remarkable Program. Have been using it for about three months without a single glitch. Perfectly converts MPEG4 to 2 ( or anything else you can think of) and outputs a crisp sharp image to DVD. You can also 'save' the file and record to DVD at a later time. If you have NERO 8 you can import your converted 'saved' file and it will output to DVD in a matter of minutes as the file has been already rendered for you. Great Product. Well worth the price.

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Poster: Rick Prelinger Date: Sep 9, 2008 1:58pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

The IA has asked us to supply MPEG-4 files as part of a general shift to H.264 compression, which is more efficient.

Here is how the old and new formats compare:

The MPEG-2 files were 1/2 D1 (nominally 360 x 480, but typically 352 x 480 or 368 x 480), at a typical bitrate of 2.5 Mbps. There were a few exceptions to this: some files were encoded at 3 Mbps, and "The Middleton Family" was uploaded as full D1 (720 x 480) as a holiday gift to our longtime friends and fans.

The MPEG-4 files are a full 640 x 480 at 3Mbps. They should generally look much better and contain fewer compression artifacts. "Danger: Women At Work" was transferred from an original in very poor condition, and though I know our users know how to distinguish compression artifacts from deficiencies in the original films, I'd suggest that we wait for a few more samples and then make definitive comparisons.

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Poster: Classic_TV_and_Radio_Fan Date: Sep 9, 2008 4:09pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Hi Rick! I find it very sad that "Danger - Women at Work" was in such poor condition, so I'm glad you have saved it just in time. Kinda makes me wonder how many reels are decaying in corporate archives owned by big companies. Keep up the good work preserving these little bits of Americana, I actually prefer them to many big-budget hollywood films as far as historical value goes.

This post was modified by Classic_TV_and_Radio_Fan on 2008-09-09 23:09:45

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Poster: FP Date: Sep 9, 2008 4:28pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Huh. That's weird. I was under the impression most of the old archive offerings were 640 X 480 or better MPEG2.

I have a few random MPEG2 titles on the drive I just pulled off backup DVDs. I'm pretty sure most or all of them are from this section. Let's see what they are...
ToNewHor1940 640 X 480
Dial Comes To Town 640 X 480
brotherhood_of_man_1946 720 X 540 (that's weird)
StoryOfACity 640 X 480
BountyPaperT_2 640 X 480
InsideIn1941 640 X 480
Televisi1961 640 X 480
East German Advertising 1958 384 X 288
out_of_this_world 640 X 480
HomeElec_2 640 X 480
Designfo1956 640 X 480
NYWF_39-40_Reel_4_Pt3 640 X 480

It appears quite a few of the old downloads are the "near-NTSC" 640 X 480. Some of them look great!

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Poster: Scribble Date: Sep 14, 2008 4:32pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Hi Rick,

You are correct regarding the MPG4s, after I loaded them into After Effects and rendered them as Quicktimes they looked superb! Much better than the MPEG2s.

I'd suggest anyone who wants to work with them in their NLEs convert them to a suitable Quicktime (DV codec perhaps), they will run smoothly without taxing your CPU.

Thanks again, the new stuff is great! Keep 'em coming!

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Poster: Scribble Date: Sep 9, 2008 6:24pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: Will MPEG2s still be available

Thanks for the explanation Rick, yes, the Middletons was pretty near perfect, but I can see how much server space such specs would require.

I haven't tried loading up these mpeg4s into my NLE yet, I was just watching with QT viewer on an imac, LCD screens are not the greatest to judge such things...